Sarah Paulson is nominated for an Emmy for her role as Linda Tripp in “Impeachment: American Crime Story” — the sole acting nod for the FX series — but could it be her last time in the anthology? The fourth season, rumored to be focused on “Studio 54,” is in the works.
“I’m sort of in this very interesting place where I’ve taken the last year off, which has been wild. Believe me, don’t think I don’t know what a privileged place it is to sit in and know that I can take a year off and still be able to live my life and not in a fearful way and that is a real really lucky thing,” she says. “I’ve said no to some things, which is a wildly new thing. I think the shows are always extraordinarily well-crafted and things I’ve always been so proud to be part of. So, never say never, but I’m sort of in this new space of seeing what comes and not pre-planning, which is very unlike me! I’m not saying I’m comfortable there yet, but I’m experimenting.”
The same goes for “American Horror Story,” the show that led to five of her eight Emmy noms, which is returning the fall.
“It’s not that I’m not open to it. I’m always open to it, but I feel like I’ve been doing it for a long time, and people might start getting sick of me in that world,” she says. “Let someone else scream and run and cry for a second. Other people can do that too! Also, my nervous system. There was a time when I was younger when I was like, ‘I can do this all night. I love it!’ Now I’m like, ‘Momma’s tired!’”
Paulson has been working with Ryan Murphy since 2011, first guest-starring in “American Horror Story: Murder House,” the first of the anthology series. She went on to appear in “AHS: Asylum,” “AHS: Coven,” “AHS: Freak Show” and “AHS: Hotel” before then starring in the first season of “American Crime Story,” titled, “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” which landed her an Emmy. She returned to the “Horror Story” universe that same year, starring in “Roanoke,” followed by “Cult,” “Apocalypse” and “Double Feature.” The only season she has sat out is “AHS: 1984,” which aired in 2019.
The actress also appeared in one episode of Murphy’s “Feud: Bette and Joan” and starred as the lead in his Netflix series, “Ratched,” which was originally picked up for two seasons. However, she tells Variety she doesn’t know if a second season is in the works or not.
Now, when reading scripts, she says, “What I’m looking for is new. I’m looking for new experiences and looking to collaborate in new ways with young filmmakers. I’m interested in this idea of being the old lady on the set.”
Regardless of her future projects, taking a break after playing Tripp was necessary for Paulson. While she has changed her appearance for many parts — to this day, she gets stopped and asked where her second head is, referring to her roles in 2014’s “AHS: Freak Show” — “Impeachment” was different.
“I do believe there is more of a spiritual alignment — and some people would be surprised that I would admit that — but I can really connect with an idea of wanting to matter. I think there’s a universal experience that we all have of wanting to matter.”